Cheteshwar Pujara showed why he is regarded as one of the best Test batsmen of his generation during India’s tour of Australia. In the last two Test matches in Sydney and Brisbane, Pujara proved to be a rock for the Indian cricket team as he frustrated the bowlers with his cautious approach while holding one end of the pitch with aplomb. Meanwhile, Rahane scored a hundred in Melbourne to power India to victory in the Test.
Pujara’s innings of 56 in the fourth innings of the Brisbane Test was lauded by many contemporaries and fans as he took 11 body blows but continued to bat on for the Indian team. He was the fourth-highest run-scorer in the Border-Gavaskar trophy. Rahane came in at the fifth-highest run-getter.
With that performance, Pujara has leapfrogged Pakistan skipper Babar Azam to go to the sixth spot in the latest ICC Test batting rankings released on Saturday. India’s Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane has also moved up a place.
Often criticised for his slow approach, Pujara batted like a warrior in the fourth Test against Australia to help set the stage for India’s historic win at Australia’s fortress — The Gabba. He took blows to the body, fingers, and head, but did not flinch.
Pujara stood tall, defying the Australian bowlers who looked for one opportunity to break into the Indian lower-order. Rahane, on the other hand, played the captain’s knock in the second Test to see India home. Rahane, who is now at the eight spot, hit 24 off 22 balls before Rishabh Pant’s match-winning knock in the fourth Test.
India skipper Virat Kohli and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson have retained their fourth and first spot in the latest rankings while England all-rounder Ben Stokes who was rested for Sri Lanka Tests has moved down two places to tenth position in the batting rankings.
In the bowling rankings, Indian bowlers Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah have retained their eighth and ninth spot while England pacer James Anderson has jumped one spot to number six.
Last week, Anderson became the second fast bowler after the great Richard Hadlee to take 30 fifers in Test cricket. While the Englishman is the second pacer, he is sixth on the overall list. Anderson achieved the feat in the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium.
Earlier this week, Ireland all-rounder Paul Stirling gained eight slots in the ODI batting rankings to reach 20th place after scoring 285 runs against Afghanistan which included centuries in the second and third matches.
Bangladesh spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz progressed nine spots (ODI bowling rankings) to take the fourth position after grabbing seven wickets including a haul of four for 25 in the second ODI against West Indies that won him the player of the match award.
(with ANI inputs)